Archive for March, 2006


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Here is my new nephew, born on February 20, 2006 to my sister Helen and her husband Patrick Surfus. He came out at 7 pounds and 5 and a half ounces. He was 20 and a forth inches long.

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Constipated People Don’t Give A crap.

If You Can Read This, I’ve Lost My Trailer.

The Earth Is Full – Go Home.

I Have The Body Of A God – Buddha.

So Many Pedestrians – So Little Time.

Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult.

If We Quit Voting, Will They All Go Away?

Eat Right, Exercise, Die Anyway.

Illiterate? Write For Help.

Honk If Anything Falls Off.

Cover Me, I’m Changing Lanes.

He Who Hesitates Is Not Only Lost, But Miles From The Next Exit.

I Refuse To Have A Battle Of Wits With An Unarmed Person.

You! Out Of The Gene Pool – Now!

I Do Whatever My Rice Krispies Tell Me To.

Fight Crime: Shoot Back!

Seen Upside Down On A Jeep–
If You Can Read This, Please Flip Me Back Over…

Remember Folks: Stop Lights Timed For 35 mph Are Also Timed For 70 mph.

Guys: No Shirt, No Service. Gals: No Shirt, No Charge

If Walking Is So Good For You, Then Why Does My Mailman Look Like Jabba The Hut?

Ax Me About Ebonics.

Body! By Nautilus; Brain By Mattel.

Boldly Going Nowhere.

Caution – Driver Legally Blonde.

Heart Attacks … God’s Revenge For Eating His Animal Friends.

Honk If You’ve Never Seen An Uzi Fired From A Car Window.

How Many Roads Must A Man Travel Down Before He Admits He is Lost?


All Men Are Animals; Some Just Make Better Pets.


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The great Paris Painting theft.

Did you hear about the guy in Paris who almost got away with stealing several paintings from the Louvre?

After planning the crime, getting in and out past security, he was captured only two blocks away when his Aerostar van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, "Monsieur, I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."

And you thought I lacked De Gaulle to tell a story like that…

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             Today, upon a bus, I saw a girl with golden hair

           I looked at her and sighed and wished I was as fair.

                     When suddenly she rose to leave,

                     I saw her hobble down the aisle.

                     She had one leg and used a crutch

                  But as she passed, she passed a smile.

                     Oh, God, forgive me when I whine

                     I have 2 legs, the world is mine.


                        I stopped to buy some candy

                    The lad who sold it had such charm

             I talked with him a while, he seemed so very glad

                     If I were late, it'd do no harm.

                       And as I left, he said to me,

                    "I thank you, you've been so kind.

                  It's nice to talk with folks like you.

                      You see," he said, "I'm blind."

                     Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.

                     I have 2 eyes, the world is mine.


                   Later while walking down the street,

                      I saw a child with eyes of blue

                   He stood and watched the others play

                        He did not know what to do.

                    I stopped a moment and then I said,

                  "Why don't you join the others, dear?"

                      He looked ahead without a word.

                    And then I knew, he couldn't hear.

                     Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.

                     I have 2 ears, the world is mine.


                    With feet to take me where I'd go.

                    With eyes to see the sunset's glow.

                   With ears to hear what I would know.

                     Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.

               I've been blessed indeed, The world is mine.


                 If this poem makes you feel like I felt,

                   just forward it to all your  friends,

                 after all, it's just a simple reminder….

                We have soooooo  much to be thankful for!!!


                            Sorrow looks back,

                            Worry looks around,

                              Faith looks up.


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Various Comments Made at Laura Walker's:


Please note that the comments of others are not preserved here and you are encouraged to follow the link in reading the complete conversations.

What is Conception?

Father Kish sent me an article on a February 27/28 symposium on the The Human Embryo before Implantation: Scientific Aspects and Bioethical Considerations.  This is particularly interesting to me since I once listened to a biomedical researcher explain that his in vitro embryonic work was not antithetical to his pro-life stance since a human was not ensouled until uterine implantation.  I am curious to see what the Vatican says.



Diane Irving's article linked by Matt Abbott above is on the mark. I have known Diane for many years. She regularly gave talks at St. Ann's in NW DC when I was an associate there in the 1980's. She is right, as is Brian's brief comment, that the Church regards the fertilized embryo as human life requiring protection.

I had a professor once who argued that true personhood and ensoulment was later, after the threshold of celluluar differentiation had passed and twinning was no longer possible. However, even if such was the case, those following St. Thomas would insist that even human life "in potentia" would have to be protected and given the same rights as fully formed human persons.

The researcher who argued implantation seems to have chosen an arbitrary standard, given long term storage and particularly if the artificial womb should be produced and actual implantation can be avoided altogether. This would be an illicit way for parents to carry their children to term, unless some serious medical emergency or the death of the mother mandated it. In that case, such a futuristic artificial womb would simply be a better alternative than the current incubators used for premature children.

I suspect the researcher simply wanted to justify embryonic research that is really akin to abortion.

Posted by Father Joe at February 21, 2006 05:32 PM

Does He Go Green?

Lou Ferrigno, the former Mr. Universe and star of "The Incredible Hulk" television series, will be sworn in tomorrow as a Los Angeles County reserve deputy sheriff.

Don't make him mad.

Lou's poor hearing always made his speech sound awkward. It made his television, and stunted movie experience, quite an achievement. He is loved by fans for THE INCREDIBLE HULK and is alway courteous and honest at conventions. He is physically quite daunting, although scaled down from his old CBS days, but is quite unassuming in personality one-on-one. (He might sound otherwise given that he speaks with volume, but hey, he cannot hear.) I suspect that his work for the sheriff's department is simply an expression of his desire to keep busy and to be of service to the community. He is committed to give at least 20 hours a month. That is substantial time, especially since he will be working with the special victims (abuse) unit. He has played a hero, I guess maybe he wants to be a real one. I think his father was a policeman.

He and his wife and daughter offer exercise and fitness videos and books. Along with pricey autographed photos, this is how he makes a living these days. He lets them do most of the talking. Because of his hearing handicap, he could hardly follow the route of so many other celebrities in becoming a motivational speaker (although he does something of this at schools for the hearing impaired). He lets Carla and Shanna run that side of things in the fitness training program.

Did you notice his cameo with Stan Lee in the movie version of the HULK?

Posted by Father Joe at February 16, 2006 10:06 AM 

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Cell Phones & Korea

Various Comments Made at Laura Walker's:


Please note that the comments of others are not preserved here and you are encouraged to follow the link in reading the complete conversations.

Treating the Symptoms

So now movie theaters would like permission to silence cell phones. This doesn't come as a surprise, but their rationale made me giggle:  Movie theater owners faced with falling attendance are considering asking federal authorities for permission to jam cell phone reception in an attempt to stop annoying conversations during films, the head of the industry's trade group said on Tuesday.

If people are more interested in conversing on their cell phones than watching the movie, perhaps the industry should do a slightly more focused root cause analysis.

Maybe people on constant call should not go to movies?

We did not have cell phones until recently, and I do not recall things being too bad.

I would favor jamming the phones, just as many churches are starting to do because of constant interruptions. I have told my parishioners that there is a 50 dollar fine for a phone ringing during Mass. You should have seen all the people reaching to shut them off!

The last movie I saw was ruined by a guy using text messaging during a film. The light was very distracting as was his constant tapping. I reported one guy who was talking on the phone at a theater a month ago, and had him removed. The guidelines are very clear, turn the ringer off; but people do not listen.

If the phone has a vibration mode, the person can step out of the theater or church and answer it. But if the theaters and churches must start jamming, the phone addicts only have themselves to blame. I have no sympathy for them.

I know I sound pretty strict about this and I am. If I had my way, those using handheld phones in moving cars would face serious fines. We had a lady killed in front of my rectory because she was distracted by her cell phone and did not pay attention to the road– and the BIG truck. She was killed instantly.

Now, if we could only jam mp3 sets, portable radios, and miniature televisions as well. Yes, those are popping up in theaters and churches, too. Despite earphones you can still hear the pounding beat as it eats through their ear drums and reverberates the popcorn cup out of your hand and the soda into your lap– at movie theaters, not churches, where only the gum jiggles and finds a place under pews.

Pax et Bonum

Posted by Father Joe at March 16, 2006 10:13 PM

Actually, I know several churches, including Catholic ones that jam cell phones right now. There is a written notice posted at the door warning parishioners. The only reason I have not installed one is the cost.

I say Mass twice a week at Coast Guard Headquarters where "camera" phones are banned.

People and organizations can control or regulate electronic communications on their property, if not by edict then at least with additional technology.

Posted by Father Joe at March 17, 2006 09:22 AM

Last night at a church where I help out, two phones rang during the Mass. Since it is not my parish, I cannot ask for a $50 fine.

Instead, at the end of Mass, I am going to have them stand up and tell God and the congregation that they are sorry for the interuption. Maybe a physical cruciform prostration in the center aisle would also be in order, as well?

By the way, picture catalogues are already advertising jammers for phones and guarantee that they neither affect pace-makers nor hearing aids.

But my poor church cannot afford the thousands of dollars to install it. I guess the $50 fine will just have to do– yeah!

Posted by Father Joe at March 20, 2006 10:37 AM

Not a Neutral Pyongyang

Would it be such a bad thing if the U.S. presence was removed from South KoreaNearly half of South Korean youths who will be old enough to vote in the country's next elections say Seoul should side with North Korea if the United States attacks the communist nation, according to a poll released Wednesday . . . A majority of those surveyed, 54.1 percent, said peaceful reunification was the preferred method for ending the division on the peninsula.

I presume that "reunification" would mean absorption into North Korea. I suppose it would be political disadvantageous for the United States to leave, but perhaps our presence is unnecessary if South Korea no longer cares to be protected from their northern neighbor.

The reunification of the agricultural north with the industrial south would create a much more powerful Korea. Given that the current dictator of the north is a raving madman, I am not sure if we would be the ones, in the long term, to learn a lesson. (Certainly it would make his production of missiles with nuclear warheads a whole lot easier.) Part of the problem, as I see it, is that the leaders who have governed in the south have been oppressive and have violated human rights themselves. Even the Catholic Church must function under intolerable reins and the number of men in the seminary is not allowed to surpass 100. That is why so many Korean seminarians are studying to be priests in the United States. However, if the Communists gain control of the south, I am also worried that what happened in Vietnam could happen there. Ten thousand native born clergy were rounded up and shot. Infiltration of the south by Communist sympathizers has also been a determined campaign that seems to be paying off, finally.

The old Soviet Union is gone, hopefully dead and not just sleeping, but China is florishing. While the Bamboo Curtain is more porous than the defunct Iron Curtain, nevertheless, as the discussion about the Internet censorship revealed, it still seeks the dominion of the hearts and minds of people. This is why even Asian Communism will always be an enemy of the Church, if not to Western Capitalists who prefer Oriental sweatshops to paying homegrown workers a just wage.

I have an old parishioner who fought in World War II (both fronts), Korea and Vietnam. He was wounded multiple times. Although a flight engineer, he tried his hand as a gunner when his buddy beside him was blown in half. They tied him to a boomline and sped him below a helicopter to grab the wounded from the grass in Vietnam and Korea. He would come home covered in blood, his and theirs. He rescued countless men by helicopter in Vietnam and was the flight engineer that all the generals wanted. He is in his late 80's now and he cries when middled-aged men that he knew as boys die in Afghanistan and Iraq. What am I trying to say?

If South Korea should decide to reunite with the North in a Communist government, I hope that God takes John home first. He should not see given away that for which so many of his brothers suffered and died.

We also haver other aliances, notably with Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan. A reunited Korea under a Communist dictator would pose a real threat to their security. I suspect that it would lead the new Japan to quickly arm themselves again– particularly if confidence in the United States should be lost.

Posted by Father Joe at February 23, 2006 10:10 AM

Up until recently North Korea was one of the largest grain producers in the world. However, they have had serious natural disasters for about a decade that have devastated the country. It has had to import a great deal of food.

Over the last 50 years, the North, with Russian and Chinese assistance and the South, with U.S. help, have both tried to be complete and independent countries. However, political questions aside, they really need each other in terms of resources.

It may be that my comments segregating industry and agriculture no longer apply? Here are the most recent statistics:

Land Area
N Korea – 120,410 sq km
S Korea – 98,190 sq km

N Korea – 22,912,177
S Korea – 48,422,644

Agricultural Work Force
N Korea – 36%
S Korea – 8%

Industrial Work Force
N Korea – 34%
S Korea – 19%

Services Work Force
N Korea – 36%
s Korea – 73%

Arable Land
N Korea – 20.76%
S Korea – 17.18%

Permanent Crops
N Korea – 2.49%
S Korea – 1.95%
Posted by Father Joe at February 24, 2006 12:07 PM

Yes, Japan is taking steps to rebuild a military, largely at the behest of the U.S., given that they have become one of our closest allies. It has also been a heavy price tag over the last half century. This move will allow them to supplement our presence while allowing us to redirect our concentration on Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, while U.N. and American troops can base in South Korea, given bad history and racial bias, I doubt any of the Koreans would sit for a large Japanese military presence based there.

The more difficult question, given the Japanese abhorence of nuclear weapons, will be how far they will take their build up given real threats from North Korea and continued rivalry with China. The Japanese still have a distinct sense of honor that fuels their courage. Given time, they might become as formitable a military power as they are a commercial one.

Posted by Father Joe at February 24, 2006 12:25 PM

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